(AsiaNews) - "Aggiornamento" [updating- ed] - the controversial word used by John XXIII -
"does not mean
reducing the faith, debasing it to the fashion of the times using the yardstick
of what we like and what appeals to public opinion. Quite the contrary, just as
the Council Fathers did, we must mould the 'today' in which we live to the
measure of Christianity. We must bring the 'today' of our times into line with
the 'today' of God". Benedict
XVI continues to refer to the Second Vatican Council as a "compass"
for the current Year of Faith: he did so again today, receiving some of the
bishops who attended the Council along with numerous presidents of Episcopal
conferences and last night, waving from the window of his study to participants
in a candlelight procession to commemorate 11 October 1962, and the famous
"Many memories come to mind - he said today - memories inscribed in each of our hearts, of the period of the Council which was so lively, so rich and so fruitful. However I do not wish to dwell upon this for too long. I would merely like to recall how a word launched by Blessed John XXIII, almost as if to establish a programme, resurfaced continually during the course of the conciliar sessions: the word 'aggiornamento." Fifty years on from the opening of that solemn gathering of the Church", Benedict XVI added, "some people may ask themselves whether that term was perhaps, from the very beginning, not entirely appropriate. Choice of words is something that can be discussed for hours without reconciling contrasting opinions, for my part I am convinced that the intuition which Blessed John XXIII summarised in that word was and remains correct. Christianity must not be considered as 'something that has passed', nor must we live with our gaze always turned back, because Jesus Christ is yesterday today and forever(cf. Heb 13:8). Christianity is marked by the presence of the eternal God, Who entered into time and is present in all times, because all times are brought forth of His creative power, of His eternal 'today'. This is why Christianity is always new. We must never see it is a fully mature tree sprung from the mustard seed of the Gospel; a tree which has grown, given its fruits and one day grows old as the suns sets on its life energy. Christianity is, so to speak, a tree that is ever young. This constantly updated vitality, this 'aggiornamento', does not mean breaking with tradition; rather, it is an expression of that tradition's ongoing vitality. It does not mean reducing the faith, debasing it to the fashion of the times using the yardstick of what we like and what appeals to public opinion. Quite the contrary, just as the Council Fathers did, we must mould the 'today' in which we live to the measure of Christianity. We must bring the 'today' of our times into line with the 'today' of God. "
"The Council - he concluded - was a time of grace in which the Holy Spirit has taught us that the Church, in her journey through history, must always speak to modern man, but this can only happen by the power of those who have deep roots in God, are led by Him and live with purity of their faith, not by those who follow passing trends, by those who choose the easiest path. The Council understood this well. "
And if in the 50 years that have elapsed since Vatican II, the Church has noted the presence of "weeds", "we have experienced the presence of the Lord, His goodness, His strength." This was the reassurance that Benedict XVI gave yesterday evening to 40 thousand people gathered by Catholic Action to re-evoke what happened on night of the opening of the Council. "Even today - he told them - we are happy, we have joy in our hearts, but I would say perhaps a more sober joy, a humble joy. During these fifty years we have learned and experienced that original sin exists and is reflected, again and again in personal sins, which can also become structures of sin. We have seen that there are always weeds in the field of the Lord. We have seen that even in Peter's nets there are also bad fish. We have seen that there is also human frailty in the Church, the Church that the ship is sailing into a head wind, with storms that threaten the ship and sometimes we may even think the Lord is asleep and we have been forgotten. " Instead, "the Lord never forgets us, even today, in His own way, humble. The Lord is present and gives warmth to the heart, shows life, creates gifts of kindness and charity that illuminate the world and are guarantees of the goodness of God . Yes, Christ is alive and with us and He is with us today, and we can be happy today because His goodness never dies and is still strong today. "